Smithsonian: 7 Future is Now Inventions Unveiled at CES 2019 (The Flying Cars are Almost Here) and Impossible Burgers 2.0

2019. The year the original “Blade Runner” was set in (with flying cars, thank you!). The annual Consumer Electronics Show 2019 unveiled gadgets that even Replicants would have been forced to say “really? we need that?”  Yes, android Rutger Hower, we need a suitcase that will follow you around without you holding it.

Okay, no.  But flying cars are almost here, and who will help us go to there?  Uber, of course.  And their partner… Bell Helicopter?  What?  That’s so 21st century, a time when a taxi company (disrupter!!) becomes a billion dollar empire.  It’s like finding out that McDonalds partnered with Raytheon in 1970 to create Happy Meals to send to Vietnam. In retrospect that would not be shocking at all.


See the amazing AI suitcase!

Experience the diabetes Breathalyzer!!

Wonder to the actual flying car! Finally!

Gasp at the commercial baking machine that can bake 10 loaves in an hour at your mall, maybe.  Or at the Costco?

Enjoy the future of mirrors where you can pluck nose hair, solve future crime and get  traffic and weather visually (not aurally from a stupid radio you 20th century idiot).

Look fabulous with the AI Skincare Assistant from South Korea. The people that brought you your refrigerator, probably.

And, okay, seriously get the Impossible Burger 2.0, which really is a great meat substitute, at your supermarket come next summer.  No snark on this one, I’ve had a few of these and if you want a healthier meat substitute this makes a pretty good burger.  Really, for me, if I didn’t know they weren’t beef, I wouldn’t know. Taste, texture, everything. Really cool.

And the flying cars, well, that would be cool, if people could drive terrestrially, but they can’t, they suck.  Oh never mind, by the time we get flying cars they’ll be robot driven and bake 10 loaves of bread in an hour too. And a facial.

Verrrry Scarrrry: 1958 TV Show Has Character Named Trump That Sells a Town on a “Wall”

This is pretty funny.  I mean funny odd, not funny “ha, ha”.   Somebody found an episode of an obscure late 50s western series in which a conman character named “Dr. Walter Trump, DU MC SSR” — or “Doctor of the Universe, Master of Cometry, Student of Stellar Reactions” talked up an apocalypse for this town that could only be prevented by his “wall.”  It’s “The Twilight Zone” meets “The Music Man.”  How nuts is this?

What do we do?” a someone asks. “How do we save ourselves?”

“You ask: How do you build that wall?” Trump responds. “You ask, and I’m here to tell you.”

Can Anybody Really Fear Trump Anymore? And Other Questions

Wow was that a bad speech last night with no news content whatsoever. More than a bad, wooden recapitulation of the same concocted talking points, just this time by teleprompter, it was a nadir.  Maybe even that elusive turning point on Republican support, if not media groveling.  Trump cried wolf and wasted his first Oval Office speech giving a wan replica of the same speech he gives everywhere so:

1. The networks that felt they had to give him the benefit of the doubt and grant him prime time will surely reject his next request won’t they?  The evolution of the press into more skeptical and appropriate coverage of the lying conman continues (too damn slowly).  Like a bad date you know you shouldn’t have even gone on, ABC, NBC and CBS woke up this morning feeling dirty.  Well, dirtier than usual.  Well, uncomfortable in an unfamiliar way, maybe.

2.  If you heard the speech it’s hard to imagine that it was a last ditch attempt to move public opinion towards the wall because it was so lame, but that’s what it was.  If 65% of the country had any question about whether this dope considered himself president of anybody other than his base, last night answered that, no?  The government is shut down over a farcical wall intended to fix a mythical crisis.  Nobody wants this thing except the marks that have bought into the entire Fox News con on immigration stranger danger, and hundreds of thousands of people are out of work because of it with millions more unable to access needed government services.  Furloughed federal workers are applying for SNAP, which will not be there for them.  No safety net and no savings – a uniquely American SNAFU.

It’s notable but too rarely communicated that A. there is no concrete (no pun intended) proposal for how to spend the $5.6 billion that is in contention which is ridiculous, but par for a Trump course, and B. even if the money were approved for any sort of wall, the land needed to build it on would be seized by eminent domain and those cases would be tied up in the courts for years!  There are dozens of cases still in the courts from GWB’s Secure Fence Act of 2006!  The wall wouldn’t get built until after Trump’s death (from my fingers to God’s ears), if ever.

3.  Sen. Republicans know now that Trump has led them into a box canyon with no back up and will back away from him to reopen the government, right?  They may be afraid of his base, but even in the reddest states pressure is building every day to end this bullshit and reopen the government.  The Senators in purplish states up for re-election in 2020 are going to fall like dominoes.  The ones in blue states (Gardner and Collins) have already said they’d vote to reopen without the funds.  They have to get to 60.

Would Trump dare to veto a bill reopening the government as the stories of put upon federal workers in Trump-imposed hardship proliferate and public opinion becomes overwhelming?

4. Is there anybody who can really assert that this motherfucker has a chance in hell of being re-elected?  Please.  He’s not added one vote to the 62,979,636 he got in 2016, which will naturally decline by 1-2% due to death.  One of the downsides of having an older cohort as your core.  Yes, they vote, but not when they die.  Every year more 18 year-olds register to vote as Democrats or Independents and more Republicans die.

Note to self:  invent a new phrase that is stronger than clusterfuck because Trump has worn that out.

Maine 2nd CD – Flipped Red to Blue – Ranked Choice Voting Worked

We wrote about Maine’s ranked choice voting experiment a few weeks back.  It seems to have worked pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty well and flipped Maine’s 2nd CD to the Democrat leaving New England in a 21-0 blue to red count in Congress!

Poliquin, the incumbent, led after ballots were initially tabulated, though no candidate had an absolute majority. However, under ranked-choice voting, the lowest-choice candidates were eliminated and their votes reallocated to their second choices. Under that system, Golden, the Democrat, pulled ahead.

The Democrat won even though more people voted for the Republican incumbent.

Candidate Party Votes Pct.
Jared Golden Democrat 129,556 45.5%
Bruce Poliquin* Republican 131,466 46.2
Tiffany Bond Independent 16,500 5.8
William Hoar Independent 6,933 2.4

284,455 votes, 95% reporting (399 of 418 precincts)

* Incumbent


Jared Golden, a Marine Corps veteran and Democratic state lawmaker,defeated New England’s lone House Republican, Bruce Poliquin after the incumbent failed to win a majority of the vote and the state’s new ranked-choice voting system came into play. Mr. Golden received the majority of votes in the second round of vote tabulation, according to the Maine 

So the process in Maine did extend past election day, effectively working like a recount, but with the bonus that third party and protest votes are not rendered simple and one dimensional.  By ranking choices, you can make your protest vote, but not necessarily cause an undesired candidate to ultimately win.


New Pew Poll Shows, Again, How Stupid a Country This Is

Yes, a majority of people prefer Democrats on most important issues.  What gets me is the people who say “Not much difference” between Trump and Congressional Dems on issues like the environment (25%), or Social Security (24%).  It’s easy to make fun of the blinkered morons who think Trump gives a shit about anything other than Trump, but there’s a hard core quarter of the country that is just a box of rocks who are so disinterested that they can say Trump and Dems are the same when any 3rd grader who reads the Weekly Reader knows there’s a massive difference on almost every issue.

However, it’s interesting that the topics that have been most in the news lately like immigration (13%), have the lowest “Not much difference”.  Maybe the people can learn?


Fox News is on in Too Many Restaurants

Of course it’s not really that it’s on in restaurants, where it’s just ambiance (if you can use that word for nut jobs lying soundlessly in the background) the bigger problem is that it’s on in the homes, but if this election brought anything into clear relief it’s that the Foxification of the nation is maybe our greatest danger.

It was a wave.  It may not have felt like one on Tuesday when we were waiting breathlessly for the flips, as the marquee races were going south, but in time, with analysis it’s clearly a wave.

Nearly 40 seats in the House

Only 1-3 seats lost in the Senate (still counting in AZ and FL and a run off in Mississippi that, yes, will not likely go blue, but remember Alabama?)

7 governorships

350+ state legislature seats

A lot to applaud.  That’s a wave, people.  And that is a base to build on for 2020.

And yet, it feels like the Senate, and therefor court appointments, are out of Democratic reach because of those smaller rural states that just seem to be under the tribal thrall of the Republican party.  In the last 10 years we’ve seen states like NM, CO and VA turn blue.  And make no mistake, with great, great candidates GA and TX are now purple!  AZ too.  On the other hand, in this time period we’ve seen OH and MO slip over to seemingly solid redness, maybe.  Ohio did re-elect Sherrod Brown, so maybe they’re not lost and if a Beto was running there, maybe they’d go blue.  Florida is just fucked, you can’t know what they’re going to do, they’re crazy.  But all those little red states with fewer than a million people and 2 senators seem completely out of reach (Tester in MT notwithstanding).  So how the hell does the majority of the country get back the ability to have a say in some of the most vital parts of government including court appointments?  Not to mention the precariousness of the still living farcical Electoral College.

Let me first state the problem:  1. Fox News, talk radio and various profoundly dishonest right wing outlets have their propagandistic claws in too large a segment of America.  2. Besides their usual demonization of Democrats, they’ve screamed about the absolute necessity of conservative judges and justices for decades so that even when a fair minded person throws off their programming for a moment and listens to a talented Democratic candidate, all they have to hear is “but the Supreme Court” and they run right back to the red team.

The solution:  Democrats, progressives, liberals have got to break the spell on red voters regarding the courts.  Of course, we have to have charismatic, smart, personable candidates that can explain their positions cogently about everything.  But I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody ask conservative individuals what exactly conservative courts achieve for them and debunk that there’s anything good for the average worker, farmer, citizen in the anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-voter judgments coming from the conservative courts.  Citizen’s’ United did not help these people.  They’re never going to get a full national ban on abortion.  Pro business rulings against workers can’t help them.  Making it harder to vote?  Okay, right now they’re making it harder for brown people to vote, but the precedent can be applied to anybody.

The fact is that conservative propagandists have effectively deified the courts in the minds of their lowliest followers with no actual connection to the real decisions laid down by those courts.  Just like how poor conservatives keep voting for elite business interests because of social wedge issues, there is as total a disconnect between what the courts do and how hard these average citizens root for them, and effectively against themselves.

That spell has to be broken.  And that is something I don’t hear anybody on the left talking to those people about.